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Our various researches overlap to a certain extent – engineers both made and needed maps, and mapmakers like William Faden were active members of the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers in the eighteenth century (Julia is an Honorary Member now).
How pleasant to have coffee in the garden and talk to someone who understands the premise, purpose and by-ways of biographical research. And we talk not just about a past that needs preserving, but our present network of mutual friends and colleagues – colleagues in her case often dating from her early days of training under the great Ben Weinreb.
We muse on the differences between the scholar-bookseller, the academic and the rare book librarian – and mourn that the world is so often tempted to dismiss the best of our trade as mere dealers (the ‘money-grubbing’ goes without saying).Good to be out and about in a sunny Olympic London last week – cheery smiles, expectant people following bright pink signs to unlikely events, gamesmakers appropriately decked in the Queen’s racing colours – all of that.Back to the leafy and suburban West London heartlands of my schooldays.Paul tells a nice story – visiting American bookseller of known pessimistic disposition, “Paul, you’ve changed over the years, but your books haven’t” (not remotely true).“Ah yes, but you see, I am a happy man, content with what I have – and you are a miserable man always wanting something new”. We hear the story of the Demetzy name (an eighteenth-century Italian forebear originally named De Mezzi who improbably owned an English coaching inn and Anglicised his name).